Mexico City weekend a homecoming of sorts for Oswaldo Negri (Mexico City, Mexico) 1 November 05-- For many in the Rolex Sports Car Series paddock, this weekend's season finale in Mexico City represents the first time for them to be racing south...
Mexico City weekend a homecoming of sorts for Oswaldo Negri
(Mexico City, Mexico) 1 November 05-- For many in the Rolex Sports Car Series paddock, this weekend's season finale in Mexico City represents the first time for them to be racing south of the border, but for Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri it's more like a homecoming. Negri gained several years of experience racing in Mexico under his belt as he worked his way up the racing ladder in open wheel cars.
Negri not only raced in Mexico, but he did so for several prominent Mexican figures, including Filiberto Jimenez, Mexican soap opera actor Juan Ferrara, and Mexican comedian Eugenio Derbez.
But his performance was no joke, as he first took wins in International F-3 before winning the 1998 Pan American Indy Lights Championship, and backed that performance up with two more top-three championship runs in the category.
"I love racing in Mexico," smiled Negri. "I have a lot of good memories from my time racing there, and this weekend is going to be like a reunion with so many old friends from that experience, and I am really looking forward to the weekend."
The race weekend is the debut for the Rolex Sports Car Series, which has enjoyed significant growth in the last two seasons with its trademark close racing fueling interest from new fans across the continent, and Negri believes that the Rolex Series is likely to garner a new group of fans this weekend.
"I think that they are going to love it," said Negri. "This is a fast track, and there are a lot of good places for us to be making passes, so I know that we are going to once again put on a great show for these Mexican fans, who really love their racing."
Negri first raced in Mexico in 1993, winning the first F-3 International race he ever entered in Mexico, the Chihuhuahua round late in the 1993 season. The performance impressed the paddock, and he was picked up to run the full season the following year, taking third in the overall championship. He continued his winning ways in International F-3, winning in both 1995 and 1996 before running a limited schedule of events in the Dayton Indy Lights series in 1997.
Negri returned to Mexico in 1998 to drive for Mexican soap opera actor Juan Ferrara, and won the championship with three race wins. He continued to be a podium visitor in 1999, taking second in the championship and following that up with a run to third the following season, despite also taking on the test driver duties with the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Negri earned the Racesite.com "Rising Star" award for his run in the Rolex Sports Car Series in 2004 with Michael Shank Racing, and has scored a pole position and podium in 2005 despite running a limited schedule of events.
Michael Shank Racing was formed in 1989 when Michael Shank first began driving racing cars professionally, taking the award as SCCA-Ohio Valley Region's Novice Driver of the Year. Shank retired from the cockpit in 1997 after moving up the motorsports ladder to focus his efforts on running the team, which quickly found success in the CART Toyota Atlantic Championship, with several race wins leading Shank to be named as Team Owner of the Year twice in four years. MSR has campaigned drivers including Johnny Rutherford Jr., Kenny Wilden, and 2001 and 2002 Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish, Jr. MSR joined the Rolex ranks in 2004, leading the first race it entered and making two podium appearances with drivers Burt Frisselle and Oswaldo Negri, Jr.